The Gleaner is the Union paper of the North Pacific Union in the North American Division, and is funded by Seventh-day Adventists in conferences in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The March 2017 Gleaner carried an editorial penned by editor Steve Vistaunet on page 4 titled “Protest.”
The editor’s 12 paragraphs come in three segments. The first describes his protest against his mother’s “totalitarian” decisions when he was four years old. But “some protests are far more worthy,” and “confront us with moral choices that cannot be compromised.”
And so, in the next segment he quotes from Ellen White’s discussion of the protest of the princes, who exclaim, “If we must choose between the Holy Scriptures of God and the old errors of the church, we should reject the former.” Vistaunet adds, “Rejecting compromise, the princes instead drafted a solemn response that declared they would not ‘consent nor adhere in any manner whatever to the proposed decree in anything that is contrary to God, to his Word, to our right conscience, or to the salvation of souls.'”
These lines prepare the reader for the final segment:
“Union conference presidents in North America have been summoned by world church leaders to seek a way through a maze of principles, politics, and policies. The health of our collective unity hangs in the balance. What could the princes of long ago teach us by example?”
The author concludes desiring that the Church “move beyond the status-quo and be fully re-engaged with our Father’s business.”
Later in the same Gleaner we find another article featuring an interview with the new NPUC president, titled “John Freedman: A Prayerful Journey” (pp. 8-11). (Freedman, while chairman of the Washington Conference executive committee spearheaded that Conference’s adoption of its present non-compliant commissioned minister policy). Freedman says this about the NAD stance toward our world church:
“I’m working closely with union presidents from around the North American Division (NAD) and our NAD leadership to determine how we can most effectively support our world church structure. We had a thoughtful meeting with world leaders on January 19. We hope to draft our vision for a suggested way forward to deal productively with the issues of governance that will be reviewed by the NAD administration and approved by the NAD executive committee before being presented to General Conference officers. These are important steps. Our church is not designed to be run by a few people at any level. It is a collective effort involving the priesthood of all believers in doing God’s will in every corner of our world. I hope we’ll soon be able to move beyond these current concerns so that all of us—male, female, young and old—can fully be about our Father’s business” (p. 11).
Wait a moment! It is because the church is not “to be run by a few people at any level” that the Church has addressed the question as it has. The spirit of the women’s ordination faction put itself on display in unilateral action by conferences and unions in North America which disregarded the previous decisions of the church. And so, the world church engaged in a study process and handed the ordination question—yet again—to thousands of delegates to the San Antonio 2015 General Conference session.
This was the third time that delegates to our highest earthly decision-making body have been asked to address questions whose outcome would open or close the door for women to be ordained. On those three occasions, the answer has been No, No, and No, respectively.
Can anyone call to mind any topic the world church has addressed so many times? No comparable issue has been brought before so many Adventists in the history of the Church, or received so consistent an answer. God has spoken to His people, first in the Scriptures, and then patiently, in session after session of the General Conference.
If we would speak of decisions impacting the whole body made by but a few people, we need look no farther than to the insubordinate decisions of conferences and unions and executive committees which have defied their God and His Church.
God has through the body given the same decision again and again: No to the practice of women’s ordination to the gospel ministry.
The “governance issues” Freedman speaks of are not complicated. If the ordination of women was insubordinate before San Antonio, afterward, it is positively rebellious. Leadership in the North American Division is in rebellion. If these leaders wish to advance with mission and “move beyond” these concerns, the only way to do so is to accept the decision of the world church: No to the ordination of women to the gospel ministry.
Rather than inciting NAD leaders to rebel against their world church, or insinuating that our General Conference leadership’s humble request to these entities to respect the decisions of the world church is equivalent to the Papal suppression of truth and religious liberty, the Gleaner editor and union leaders should submit their contrarian agenda to the decision of the body. Rather than drawing a line of conscience in the sand and claiming the mantle of heroic progressives, won’t you respect the combined decision of delegates gathered from across the globe you are called and conscientiously bound to uphold?
The NPUC leadership, if these two articles offer any indication, is bent on pushing the women’s ordination agenda even to the point of fracturing the Church. What extraordinary shame.
It will not stand.
NOTE: The Gleaner editorial, “Protest” is available online at http://gleanernow.com/news/2017/03/protest. The interview of John Freedman from which we quote can be read at: http://gleanernow.com/feature/john-freedman. We also noticed that the editor asked Freedman “How have you addressed the concerns of your Northwest constituents about these issues, and that the president made no reply about his constituents but that he wanted them to “move beyond these current concerns.” The reply is not surprising and is consistent with the tone of the constituency meeting which elected Freedman, in which concerns about his nomination as union president were repeatedly suppressed.
28 replies on “NPUC Gleaner Urges Non-Compliance”
I wonder, when do those in the NAD who support the GC say enough is enough and stop returning their tithes to this a division in rebellion?
-Doug Carlson, retired SDA Pastor
I have noted the GC officers’ efforts at reconciling the insubordinate factions of the NAD. The unity document that was voted by the world church representatives in October 2016’s Autumn Council is evidence of the church taking a stand reaffirming the decision of the world church’s vote on WO and moving to correct the insubordination toward that vote. The meeting with NAD presidents on January 19 was the start of following through with efforts to work through the insubordination. If individuals and entities remain out of compliance with the San Antonio vote at the next Annual Council in October 2017, the next step in the process will be taken.The document outlines steps of reconciliation that have an ending point which has been carefully (and I think, prayerfully) planned. But instead of despising the delay, it seems we should appreciate the resemblance of Divine mercy portrayed. Our part is to pray for miracles of changed hearts. Let’s pray while those responsible work.
PLEASE! Help people understand. Every time we say we will not ordain women to the gospel ministry, we need a disclaimer stating that this does not in any way restrict women from leading with the gifts of the Spirit. It only restricts them from the authoritative position of overseers of the work. That church office is NOT a gift but an elected position based on character and ability to oversee the Church at every level. As long as we neglect to make this clear in all our communications about “ordination to ministry,” we are allowing misconceptions to fuel the WO argument. The ball is in our court to make this communication clear, alleviating much of the misunderstanding.
We don’t need such a disclaimer because that disclaimer is not correct. The Bible does in fact restrict women from leading with the gifts of the Spirit. If a woman cannot teach a man, or have any form of ecclesiastical authority over any man in the church (which is what God tells us in His Word), then she cannot lead in any general way in the church. The Bible does not only restrict women from authoritative positions of overseers of the work. This is a non-biblical idea invented by some to accommodate cultural/social pressures. The Bible restricts women from teaching or having any kind of authority over any man in the church. A truly biblical position regarding gender roles in the church does not only not ordain female pastors, it does not allow for female pastors at all. Nor does it allow for female elders, nor female deacons.
If you take that stance, then we must throw out Ellen White. She surely had and used a gift of the Spirit to teach not only men, but General Conference Presidents.
No, we don’t need to throw out the baby with the bath water. EGW was a prophet. A prophet speaks the Words of God, not their own words. The Church needs and wants to hear the Words of God, whether they come to us through a woman or a man. This, of course, does not mean that we want a woman to do what God has forbidden her to do, namely, He has forbidden her from leading His Church.
“The ball is in our court to make this communication clear, alleviating much of the misunderstanding.”
Linda, this has been “made plain” so many times it is simply redundant to keep repeating it. They won’t accept the truth of the matter and no explanation will change their mind.
Linda, I wish your simple communication of truth would help, but alas there are four classes that cannot or will not understand no matter how clearly it is presented nor how often it is repeated:
(1) The foolish cannot understand. Jeremiah said of this group, “O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not” (Jer 5:21).
(2) The rebellious cannot understand for they listen to misunderstand, misconstrue, and falsify whatever truth is stated. Ezekiel said of this group, “A rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.
(3) The unwilling cannot understand for they refuse to listen. Zechariah said of this group, “they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear” (Zech 7:11). The man born blind said to this group, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again?” (John 9:27). Jesus said of this group, “Hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn” (Mk 4:12). And again, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
(4) The wicked cannot understand. Daniel said of this group, “None of the wicked shall understand” (Dan 12:10).
We can never understand any truth clearly until or unless we desire to obey it. “Understanding means obedience to God’s commandments. The Scriptures … can be understood only by those who are humbly seeking for a knowledge of the truth that they may obey it” (COL 112).
These wicked liberals attack the structure of the church and claim it is bogus. This is the only way they can advocate their agenda as having any validity. They think they are “Martin Luther” and are going to liberate all the women in the church from male slavery. Thus, they must equate the system of the SDA church government as non-biblical and they are free to rebel against church authority.
They are utterly deluded like the Korah rebellion against Moses.
Amen brother, great post right from the lips of God.
Our first mistake was to turn a blind eye to Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. Allowing women to speak or ask questions in church started us down this slippery slope.
That is true in the sense of them speaking without restriction, but not true if one takes it to mean that they are completely prohibited from any such activities. Paul brought up restrictions to specific speaking or questioning in regards to debates that would institute or alter authoritative policies. Preaching, prophesying, and praying cannot be included in the restrictions without contradicting things he wrote elsewhere about women. Those thing would by necessity mean they can talk at church meetings like Sabbath service, Sabbath school, and mid-week service.
What I am unclear on is what that means about business and board meetings, committees, and the higher church structures where debate on authoritative policies take place. At present they seem to participate in those debates and votes everywhere and I have seen nobody as of yet say anything about that. For instance can women vote at a business meeting regarding disciplining a male?
Also, it would be better to say that it wasn’t really Paul’s instruction so much as him reminding us what God’s instructions were already on these things.
Here is a better addressing of the topic from a response to this topic from the Ellen G. White Estate.
Brian, Paul certainly does not include preaching in what is allowable for women in church. Prophesying and praying are the only two forms of addressing or speaking on behalf of the congregation allowed to women by Scripture. So the only biblically correct practice here is that they can talk at Sabbath service, Sabbath School, mid-week service, or any other gathering of the church only if they are prophesying or praying. And there is no reason for confusion about business, board, committee or any other form of governance, as all these include the exercise of authority and therefore exclude women from participating if we are intending to follow God’s commands (1 Timothy 2.12).
Part of the problem, Kenneth, is to determine what a woman can do or can’t do in participation in church. Surely a woman can share her testimony in church as a bible worker. She can conduct a SS class as as she does not make herself the “authority” to define scripture. Even men who teach a class may not be an elder.
Church boards are iffy and not so easily defined. But we should have no problem in opposition to any office that ordains them to baptize, perform marriages or funerals or any other specific office of “authority” that any elder has at least theoretically. An elder can baptize new members, even though it is not the norm.
Your basic point is valid, but application is a little more complicated.
Bill, there’s no problem with determining what a woman can and cannot do in participation in church if you are willing to take the Bible as it reads instead of imposing your personal and cultural ideas onto it. A woman can share her testimony in the homes where she works as a Bible worker with other women and children. Shemay also share it with other individuals as led by the Spirit. She need not disobey the Word simply because you or she feels she ought to be able to address the congregation. According to the Word, she most ceratinly cannot conduct a SS class, as this would involve teaching men, something expressly forbidden, and also, teaching, by its very nature, involves some authority as it involves one declaring what the Word says and means. Of course men who are not elders are free to teach a class or preach, as there is no command against that, not sure why you would even mention that.
Church boards are not iffy either and are in fact easily defined. The board exercises authority over the church. As such, no women should be on them at all. More than that, they should be composed only of ordained elders, nobody else. All these things are quite plain to those who are willing to follow Scripture instead of man.
Deut 4:5 Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. 6 Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
Perhaps the current crisis dividing our church is a means whereby the foolish, rebellious, unwilling and wicked will be separated from the wise who understand. If so, painful as the process may be, its end result will be a very necessary and positive one.
Folk I don’t know how many times I got to call your attention to this. But those who are pushing for “Females” to be Ordained, Elders and Senior Pastors in the church, is not of or after the “Spirit” of CHRIST! The Gospel of “JESUS CHRIST” is not a Democracy! The Gospel Of “JESUS CHRIST” is not a part of the Constituion, The Gospel of JESUS CHRIST” has absolutely nothing whatsoever, to do with “CIVIL RIGHTS” or what’s Cultrualy Right! There is no such thing as “Civil Rights” in the kingdom of Heaven. All of this; and I mean every bit of it is coming from none other than the Fallen Angel by the name of Lucifer, Satan The Demon! He is the only one that is out to corrupt the Divine order, of creation, by reversing the roles, by replacing the role of the”Man” (the leader) in the family, and His responsibility in the church…. The keeper of the church! Only A Devil will ignor what the word of “GOD” says, But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.1 Corinthians 11:3 /. 8, 9
What Satan is doing. Is creating A False “Spirit” that a Female is not good for Nothing, or Qualified to preach or teach the “Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, for the life of me, I don’t know how these people are forgetting, these faithful and dedicated women Tabitha, Aquilla, Docas, and Mary Magdalene labored and faithfully carried the Gospel of Jesus Christ, wherever they could. And none of them was an Aposlte, A Disciple or A Pastor, and definitely not a “PRIEST”
Yet every single one of them, was a great help meet to the Bretheren and Ministring of the Gospel of “JESUS CHRIST”! Other wise all of this Female Ordination and holding Female Senior Pastorial Leadership, is of the fallen angel Lucifer, Satn, the Demon, to cause desention with the church….. Help us Lord, for we men of the work, would be greatly hindered without the “FEMALE BIBLE WORKERS THAT YOU HAVE ORDAINED, TO WORK IN THE EVENGELISTIC EFFORTS, ALONG SIDE OF YOUR CHOSEN SHEPARDS.
None of us are priests in the Roman Catholic sense, but all of us are priests in the Bible sense. But biblically only males can be elected to the office of elder.
Council of Adventist Pastors and admin,
I have published “Protest” online: http://gleanernow.com/news/2017/03/protest
Additionally, the PDF and the flip-style viewer of the March 2017 issue has been published online since late February here: http://gleanernow.com/issue/2017/03
Digital Media Coordinator
North Pacific Union Conference
Web: NPUC.org & GleanerNow.com
Thank you. We have updated the editorial and added the link.
You’re very welcome!
Please feel free to reach out to me, should you have any other inquiries, now or in the future.
Digital Media Coordinator
North Pacific Union Conference
Anthony, I would like to reach out to you with an inquiry if I may. Do I understand the Gleaner “Protest” editorial correctly to say that, in the way our GC leadership is addressing the issue of non-compliance to the 2015 GC Session vote regarding the ordination of women, the GC is like the papal church at the Diet of Spires in 1529 and those acting in defiance of the GC vote are like the princes at this Diet who defied the authority of the papacy?
I have noticed that is consistently what is meant when pro-WO or anti-GC authority people bring up that example. And I saw no reasonable room for confusion or doubt on this.
Hello, Anthony! Are you there? Or was your invitation to reach out to you with any other inquiries meant only for the ordinationtruth.com administrators? But if you would rather not comment on a Gleaner editorial you didn’t write, perhaps you could invite your colleague, the editor himself, to answer my question.
Anthony, your silence, and the silence of the Gleaner editor, is quite telling. It says that the answer to my question must be “Yes,” and that neither of you want to defend making the current situation between the GC leaders and some union leaders analogous to the situation at the Diet of Spires between the papal leaders and the protesting princes. Such an analogy, of course, is patently false and even absurd. So your silence is not surprising.
Now I am being compared to an catholic inquisitor, a deathcamp nazi or collaborator or denier or coward, a Jesus denier, a church State supporter, and a lecherous & licentious man who beheaded the prophet John the Baptist and then took on the role of God (Herod). And those implications are being broadcast to every church member in the area. The tares seem to either be fully manifesting now, or very soon. Which at least means that they can safely be removed from the wheat without undue harm to anyone. I hope he reconsiders.
“If we must choose between the Holy Scriptures of God and the old errors of the church, we should reject the former.”
Just to set the record straight, the source of this quote was a “bigoted papist” (GC 198.2), not the protesting princes (your third para.).
Jesus said to those who were willingly blind but asked Him, “Are we blind also?” this reply.
“If you were blind, you would have no sin (that could not be pardoned) but now you say ‘we see’, therefore your sin remains (unpardonable). John 9:41
People who attack male headship are blind to the obvious and clear teaching of the bible. It is so clear, that secular society has always operated in the context of male headship, even in heathen lands. Only modern false ideas here in the USA and other parts of the “liberated” world refuse to see and acknowledge the obvious for thousands of years.
That our church is opting to patronize the modern culture in the USA and abandoning the bible is a sad reality. But, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft……” because it blinds the eyes of those who are willingly deceived about any spiritual concept clearly articulated and defined in the bible.